Definition & Symptoms

Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins around the anus or in the lower rectum. External hemorrhoids are located on the skin around the outside of the anus, whereas internal hemorrhoids are within the lower rectum. Symptoms of hemorrhoids include bright red blood noted on toilet paper after a bowel movement, pain, itching, irritation, or some people have no symptoms.

Risk factors

Risk factors for hemorrhoids include chronic constipation, straining while having a bowel movement, low fiber diet, and sitting on the toilet for long periods of time.

Diagnostics

Hemorrhoids are usually visualized on a physical exam by a medical professional, but occasionally need further workup with a colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or a barium enema x-ray.

Treatment

Treatment for hemorrhoids include increasing fiber in the diet, drinking plenty of water, warm water baths, and over the counter creams or suppositories to treat pain or itching. If these treatments do not relieve the symptoms, the hemorrhoids may be removed with a rubber band ligation, sclerotherapy where the doctor injects medication to shrink the hemorrhoid, and infrared coagulation which uses heat to shrink the hemorrhoid. These procedures are typically done by a gastroenterologist or colorectal surgeon.

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